MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – A third and final game between Mount Vernon Nazarene University Baseball (16-12, 5-5 CL) and Bethel (10-16, 2-8 CL) is set for Saturday, March 31 at noon, as the Cougars and Pilots split in a doubleheader Friday.
Game one was a 4-0 result in seven innings, as starting pitcher Clint Conner had a great outing in the complete game shutout. MVNU’s offense provided Conner with the early cushion by scoring all four of its runs in the first three innings, and the sophomore right-hander from Dublin, Ohio did the rest, finishing with a career-high eight strikeouts while allowing just four hits.
Drew Ritchey‘s double to right center-field in the second inning was a key hit, as it drove in two.
MVNU looked well on its way to two straightforward victories on its home field over the Pilots, but Bethel had other plans as it came back from 4-1 down in the final inning of game two to take a 5-4 lead.
Despite the disappointment of letting a late lead slip away, MVNU was able to plate one in the bottom of the ninth inning with a Chris Kline single to right field to drive in Nick Moser. Moser was the catalyst to start the inning, as he stroked a triple down the right field line past the diving first baseman.
In extra innings, MVNU let an opportunity get away in the tenth inning with the bases loaded and one out, as the Pilots got a rare 1-2-3 double play to get out of trouble and push it to the 11th.
The top of the 12th inning was a wild one, and when the dust had settled the Pilots claimed a four-run advantage following some timely hits and a MVNU error. The Cougars continued to battle and would eventually get the tying run to the plate in the bottom half, but a fly out to shallow center field sealed the win for the visitors and set the stage for the grudge match Saturday.
Saturday’s game is set for 12 noon on Cougar Field, and for those fans who are unable to attend, coverage is available at wnzr.tv.